Ted took the boy yesterday afternoon, so I was able to go to Woolies on my own. I ran into a woman I had met at the baby health clinic a few times, and we had a long chat about kids, living in Granville, playgroup, and what has been going on with Inigo lately. She’d seen me a few times going for a weigh in, and has seen us over a long period. She said a couple of things that other people have said before, but perhaps hearing them from a stranger makes them easier to believe?
Firstly, she said that she admired my determination in getting answers for the boy. She has three kids, and has had to seek medical advice in the past – and said that she finds doctors intimidating, that it’s hard to insist on getting a second opinion even when you don’t trust the first opinion. It’s hard to trust your intuition and keep looking for answers in the face of smug paternalism.
Secondly, it isn’t meant to be this hard. She has three kids under three, and she thinks I’m having a hard time!
Earlier in the day I’d realised that my mental state is a little wobbly because I no longer know where the goal posts are. I’d expected that having a child would be hard, and that there would be times that I would be physically and mentally exhausted. But I’d also expected that the first three months would be the worst, and that by the time the baby was six months old things would be starting to get a little easier.
I was sick during the entire pregnancy. His birth was horrible for both him and us, and we had all the stress of not being able to hold him or feed him for the first week. Then we had the breastfeeding issues, and the worry of finding good advice, the week at Tresillian, being told all sorts of crap about why we were having trouble. Then we got the breastfeeding working for about three weeks, he was gaining weight well, but screaming for hours every day. We battled to find a paediatrician who would tell us what was wrong, we medicated him without really knowing if we were helping or not.
And then his weight stopped increasing. Each week that he didn’t gain weight, my heart sank further and further. It got to the point when I was on the verge of tears at every nappy change because he was so skinny. You shouldn’t see a baby’s ribs. The skin on his thighs shouldn’t hang like a runway model. And you should be able to find a doctor that will listen to you without having to wait two whole months for an appointment.
Even when we did get to see the good doctor, it took almost a month to get a diagnosis. Then we finally got an answer, yet we still had to spend another two weeks at Tresillian, having every facet of my parenting examined, being patronised up the wazoo, and feeling like I’m in remedial parenting class because I can’t take care of my child.
And through all this people keep asking if I’ve got post natal depression. No, I don’t think I do. I’ve got post natal hostility though 😉
So the next goal post will be set by me, and it will be achievable. We’re going to celebrate six months of Inigo. We don’t need medical benchmarks or test results, or a line on a chart. Next Thursday, we’re going to the clinic for a weigh in (because the paed asked us to weigh him weekly), and then I’m going to celebrate. He’ll be 26 weeks old, and every one of those 26 weeks has been a challenge.
And then, when I can sit still for long enough to plan it, there will be a party. I think I deserve it.